March-April 2004 - Arizona Driver Magazine



March-April 2004 - Arizona Driver Magazine
Lamborghini Scottsdale
Authorized dealer
Automobili Lamborghini
1. 2003 Lamborghini Gallardo
2. 2003 Lamborghini Murciélago
Motorsports of Scottsdale
8053 E. Raintree Drive
Scottsdale AZ 85260
Paddle operated 6-speed sequential gear
box, all wheel drive, 500hp V10.
Reserve yours today. Slots filling up fast.
Titanium/dual color, black/grey interior.
In stock for immediate delivery.
3. 2001 Lamborghini Diablo 6.0
4. 2001 Lamborghini Diablo 6.0
Yellow/black. 3,200 miles.
Black/black. 1,700 miles.
[email protected]
expensive, not too rough, not too wimpy, not too weak,
not too expensive to operate. Is this one just right?
By Barbara & Bill Schaffer / Joe Sage
NEW SIZE SUV (okay, SAV) : BMW X3 .....................20
B Coming on the heels of the immensely successful X5, the
Call for details on additional inventory
NEW SIZE SUV : Volvo XC90 ..................................12
A Not too plain, not too fancy, not too cheap, not too
smaller X3 has some big shoes to fill,
By Barbara & Bill Schaffer / Joe Sage
Bridgestone 20" Dueler H/P™ for Nissan Armada .....26
NEW SIZE SUV : Honda Element .............................28
You’ve probably seen these around, and either you’ve
known exactly what they are, or you’ve wondered. This
vehicle specifically does not seek the middle ground.
By Barbara & Bill Schaffer / Joe Sage
Kyle Petty and Teen Safety 500 in Arizona ...............34
C The Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 program brings
NASCAR great Kyle Petty to Chaparral and Desert
Mountain High Schools.
Honda Civic Coupe................................................38
The perennially popular Honda Civic has more models
than you can count with your shoes off, but this new
Coupe, fully furnished and lots of fun, is one of the best.
By Joe Sage
Acura TSX ............................................................40
For a front-driver, this car—a new niche between the RSX
and TL—is extremely competent and complete. Aiming to
enter the zone of the A4 and 3 Series, it has a lot to offer.
Barrett-Jackson 2004 sets records ...........................42
D Always the king daddy lizard of the Valley’s many January
collector car auctions, Barrett-Jackson has set records for
dollar volume, crowds, percent sold, even TV time.
Ford SVT Lightning pickup is world’s fastest ..............44
We present a look at the upcoming SVT Lightning pickup,
based on the new F-150, a new record set by the current
Heritage model SVT Lightning, and the full SVT lineup.
Audi RS6 quattro ..................................................48
We’ve always been hot for the Audi S cars... performance
and style to rival the BMW M class or Mercedes-Benz
AMG series, but with the quattro all-wheel advantage. The
RS cars take it all higher still. This 6 is available in the US.
FROM THE PUBLISHER : START YOUR ENGINES .................................4
AUTO INDUSTRY UPDATE ...............................................................6
QUIZ : CAR SMARTS ....................................................................11
of Scottsdale
2004 Bentley Continental
2004 SLR..................Silver/Black ............Inquire
2003 S55 ..................Silver/Black ...........100 mi.
2003 CL600 ...............Black/Black ............100 mi.
2003 CL55 Coupe ........Silver/Black .........2,179 mi.
2003 SL55 Roadster.....Silver/Black .............10 mi.
2003 SL55 Roadster.....Black/Black .............24 mi.
2003 CL55 Coupe ........Pewter/Ash ............200 mi.
2003 SL500 ...............Black/Black .........8,000 mi.
2002 S500 Sedan 4D ....Black/Java .........11,524 mi.
2002 S500 Sedan 4D Sport Silver/Ash..........15,100 mi.
2001 CLK 320 Cab .......Bril Silv/Charcoal ..18,600 mi.
1999 S500 Sedan 4D ....White/Tan..........43,083 mi.
1991 SL500 Roadster ...Green/Tan..........35,055 mi.
1971 280SL ...............White/Tan ...........1,700 mi.
1971 280Sl................Red/Tan ............74,500 mi.
1959 220C.................Light Blue..........70,000 mi.
2004 Ferrari Enzo
Red/Black, inquire
2004 Carrera GT .........Silver/Black ............Inquire
2003 Cayenne Turbo.....Black/Tan................50 mi.
2003 Cayenne S..........Blue/tan .................50 mi.
2003 Turbo ................Seal Gray/Gray .........50 mi.
2002 995 Cabriolet 2D ..Seal Gray/Gray........234 mi.
2002 Boxster..............Silver/Black .......10,400 mi.
2001 995 Turbo...........Arctic Silv/Gray.....9,024 mi.
DESTINATION DIRECTORY.............................................................36
Other Exotics
2004 Enzo .................Red/Tan .................Inquire
2004 Enzo .................Red/Black...............Inquire
2003 360 F1 Spider......Black/Black ............100 mi.
2002 360 F1 Spider......Yellow/Black ..........500 mi.
2001 360 Modena........Yellow/Black ........1,479 mi.
2000 360 Modena........Silver/Black .........3,015 mi.
2000 550 Maranello .....Black/Black .........2,300 mi.
1999 360 Modena........Yellow/Black ........2,400 mi.
1997 355 Berlinetta .....Yellow/Black ......16,300 mi.
1995 348 Spider .........Red/Tan ............13,000 mi.
8053 E. Raintree Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
Phone: 480-483-9300
Fax: 480-483-9301
2002 BMW Alpina Conv.Titan.Sil/Gray .........200 mi.
2002 BMW 330ci Conv. .White/Tan..........10,625 mi.
2001 BMW X5 SUV ......Silver/Gray ........45,100 mi.
2001 BMW 740il .........White/Tan..........18,050 mi.
2000 BMW M5 Sedan ...Titan.Sil/Black ....14,700 mi.
1998 BMW 750il .........White/Tan..........43,800 mi.
2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10.Black/Black .............10 mi.
1966 Ford Cobra .........Black/Gray ................9 mi.
2001 Jaguar XK8 Conv. .Pacific Blue/Ivory..12,800 mi.
1999 Jaguar XK8 Conv. .Topaz/Parch .......37,800 mi.
1956 Jaguar XK140 Conv..Black/Tan................18 mi.
1956 Jaguar XK140 Conv..Red/Tan ................150 mi.
2004 Maybach .......................................Inquire
2003 Panoz Esperante ..Black/Parch .............70 mi.
1999 Panoz Roadster....Silver/Black ...........580 mi.
1998 Panoz Roadster....Red/Tan..............1,500 mi.
MOTOR RESOURCES DIRECTORY ...................................................37
THE INSIDE TRACK: BRIEFS & RUMORS ...........................................46
UPCOMING FEATURES..................................................................50
2003 Mercedes SL55
2004 Bentley Continental GT .3 to choose.............Inquire
2002 Bentley Arnage T..Black/Black .........1,100 mi.
2001 Bentley Azure ......Black/Tan............1,600 mi.
1989 Bentley Turbo R ...Burgundy/Tan .....43,000 mi.
1987 Rolls-Royce Corniche ..Met.Black/Tan.....14,200 mi.
1987 Rolls-Royce Corniche ..Ivory/Magnolia....59,599 mi.
2004 Porsche Carrera GT
Silver/Black, inquire • or E-mail at: [email protected]
COVER: Volvo XC90. Photo: Ford Motor Company.
RIGHT: Volvo; BMW, Honda, Georgia-Pacific, Ford, Acura, Audi
his month, we bring you quite a few vehicle reviews, as the powers that present
our test cars have been most generous. Our cover feature tests a series of SUVs
that are relatively new to the market, and that bridge the gap between the
original giants such as Tahoe and Suburban, and the little guys like RAV4 and CR-V.
This new turf is proving very promising indeed. The Volvo XC90, BMW X3 and
Honda Element driven herein are a good cross-section of what’s coming down the
pike, and we were able to try out the X3 near Cave Creek and the XC90 down toward
Nogales. We also drove the new Honda Civic Coupe and the all-new Acura TSX, a
performance-conscious sedan that notches in between the RSX and the TL. If you’re
like us, you’ll want to run out and buy at least two or three of these, or at least put
them on your wish list.
NASCAR driver Kyle Petty was in the Valley recently, presenting the Georgia-Pacific
Teen Safety 500 program to local high schools. We bring you an overview of the
event, in our ongoing belief that safety and skill will always add to motoring fun.
Valley auctions had another great year. We previewed Russo and Steele in our
January/February issue, and this time around we bring you a review of the recordsetting 2004 Barrett-Jackson event.
Round this all out with a quick quiz, some aftermarket information, a look at the
Ford SVT Lightning pickup setting a new world speed record for a production pickup,
and an overview of the all-wheel-drive Audi RS6 quattro super sedan, and you’re sure
to find something to keep your wheels turning.
and IMME Technology
Joe Sage
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Bill & Barbara Schaffer, Tim Sharp
Jean-Pierre Brietta, Rich Cox,
Luis DeBonoPaula, Larry Edsall,
Dan J. Gardner, Randy Lorentzen,
Jim Pyle, Dick Reed
Arizona Driver Magazine
PO Box 13387 - Scottsdale AZ 85267
Joe Sage
Executive Editor
Arizona Driver Magazine and
Arizona Rider Magazine are registered
tradenames of AdZone Arizona LLC.
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4 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
Lotus Elise Concept R
Hummer plans to offer a fourth model, after the upcoming H3 introduction, that will be more
compact, fuel efficient and more affordable so that it will appeal to a much younger buyer starting
in 2005. The H3T will be a two-seat truck with typical Hummer styling - low roofline, wide stance,
and large tires and wheels. It’s about 15 inches shorter and nearly 7 inches narrower than the H2
SUV. The concept vehicle that will be showing at early 2004 auto shows has a power-operated
folding canvas roof and a drop-down rear window behind the driver. The five-foot by five-foot
pickup box has side access doors that drop down creating a step for easier access. A novel feature
is a TV camera mounted on the hood to record exciting off-road adventures, which can be replayed
on a screen in the cab. The H3T concept is powered by GM’s new turbocharged 3.5-liter in-line fivecylinder engine rated at 350-hp and 350 lb.ft. of torque. ▼
Hummer H3T
▲ After much speculation and rumor, it
appears that the Lotus Elise will be back
in the US after a 15-year hiatus. The 2005
Elise is a 1975-pound roadster powered
by a Toyota 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine
rated at 190-hp, with a six-speed manual
transmission, also from Toyota. Lotus
claims the Elise will sprint from 0 to 60
mph in less than 5 seconds and to a top
speed of more than 150 mph. The Elise is
expected to come with air conditioning,
anti-lock brakes, power windows, dual
airbags and a Blaupunkt AM/FM/CD
stereo as standard equipment. The price
of the Elise is $39,985.
Ford is expanding availability of the Focus
PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle)
from California, Maine, New York,
Vermont and Massachusetts to all 50
states for the 2004 model year. The Focus
meets the PZEV mandate because of its
ultra low emissions level and a technical
regulation compromise that allowed a
class of vehicle that would emit no more
pollution than a power plant generates to
recharge an electric car’s battery. As a
result, the PZEV Focus is as clean as an
electric car and even cleaner than some
hybrid vehicles. To get the engine to the
low emissions level, engineers had to
virtually eliminate fuel system evaporative
emissions and meet the Super Ultra-low
Emissions Vehicle standard (SULEV). The
2.0-liter engine emits up to 10.7 pounds of
smog-forming pollution over the test
6 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
range, compared with the Tear 1 standard
of about 30.1 pounds over the same
distance. The interesting thing about the
PZEV is that it is actually faster and more
powerful than the current engine.
bumper, unique side sills and a small rear
spoiler. The inside is also dressed with
sporty seats and other cosmetic touches.
The R32 is expected to turn 0 to 60 times
in 6.4 seconds. It should sell for around
$30,000 when it goes on sale this spring.
Volkswagen is getting further into the
performance business with a limited
edition Golf R32 to compete with cars
like the Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi
Lancer Evolution. The same naturally
aspired 3.2-liter V-6 engine that the
company is using as the base engine in
the new Phaeton luxury sedan powers
the two-door R32. The 241 horsepower
engine is 40 hp more than the current
GTI VR6 performance model. The R32
drivetrain includes VW’s latest 4Motion
Haldex AWD system with 18-inch wheels
and tires. The suspension is upgraded
with larger anti-roll bars, stiffer shocks,
lower springs and larger brakes. Outside
it gets a sporty new front fascia and
ShowFX, Inc. of the City of Commerce,
California, has created aftermarket rearview cameras to help drivers see kids,
cars and other objects behind the vehicle.
The various systems are appropriately
called the FrameCam (mounted in the
license plate frame), HitchCam (mounted
in the trailer hitch receptacle) and
UniCam (which is flush mounted in a rear
panel). The system incorporates a Sony
chip camera that sends a wide-angle
image to a 3.5-inch windshield mounted
LCD color monitor. For more information
go online to
480-596-9655 / 1-800-766-2588
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 7
Shelby Cobra v2 Durango
The new Pontiac GTO is not only getting a
lot of attention from performance-minded
consumers, but some police departments
are taking a close look at the 350-hp rearwheel drive sedan. The Chevrolet Camaros
and Pontiac Firebirds currently being used
as pursuit vehicles by police departments
are no longer being built and the current
models are wearing out. The GTO
accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.3
seconds making it a tempting replacement
for police departments. The problem is
Pontiac only plans to build about 17,000 to
18,000 GTOs annually so it might be hard
for a police department to get one, let
alone the thousands they might want. Of
course that could all change.
Carroll Shelby has rekindled his partnership
with Ford and the design department has
worked quickly to create the new Cobra GT as
the first product of the renewed partnership.
Vice President of Design, J Mays, said the GT
is a “minimalist” muscle car with “No roof, no
side glass, no radio and, thank God, not a
▼ Just one year after the introduction of
the stunning Crossfire coupe, Chrysler
has introduced a Roadster, which will go
on sale this spring. The low-slung 2005
Chrysler Crossfire Roadster has a fabric
top that takes only 22 seconds from the
time the handle is turned on the
windshield header until the hard tonneau
closes onto the top. Like the coupe, the
roadster is powered by a 3.2-liter V-6
rated at 215-hp. It uses a rear drive
configuration and a standard six-speed
manual transmission or optional fivespeed automatic. Other unique features
include a rear spoiler that deploys as the
car reaches 60 mph along with 19-inch
rear and 18-inch front wheels and tires.
Audi A8 W12
▲ Audi will move its flagship A8 L more
upscale with the addition of a model
powered by Volkswagen’s new W-12
engine. The 6.0-liter 12-cylinder engine,
rated at 450-hp, powers the new
aluminum-bodied model to 0 to 62 mph
acceleration times of 5.2 seconds. The
drivetrain includes a six-speed automatic
transmission with Tiptronic manual
shifting and quattro all-wheel drive. The
aluminum chassis will have a new
adaptive air suspension system to
automatically reduce body roll and
provide optimum road-holding capabilities. The W-12 model will be the first car
in the world to use a new LED daytime
driving light system that will have no
effect on fuel consumption. Of course the
more upscale model will have an even
higher level of luxury enhancements. It
will be priced at about $105,000 when it
debuts in Germany in February 2004. It
will go on sale in the US in 2005.
Sirius satellite radio has unveiled the next
step in the development of in-car
entertainment with the announcement of
mobile video. The video delivery will use
the same existing infrastructure that the
company uses to deliver CD quality audio
to vehicle and it will even use the same
small antenna as the radio system. The
video system, developed jointly between
Sirius and Delphi Corporation was
recently demonstrated at a press
conference. The video channels will be
broadcast from multiple satellites simultaneously to provide time and spatial
diversity. The benefit is uninterrupted
content whether you’re driving under an
underpass or passing an 18-wheeler. It is
expected to available to automobile
manufacturers in the summer of 2005. ■
Auto News Update includes a summary of auto
news from industry sources, trade journals and
consumer magazines compiled for Arizona Driver
by BILL & BARBARA SCHAFFER of Auto Digest.
single cupholder.” The GT is all about
performance with a naturally aspired 6.4-liter
V-10 engine rated at 605 horsepower and
Chrysler Crossfire Roadster TL
501 lb.ft. of torque driving through a rearmounted six-speed manual transmission.
Preliminary performance figures list a 0 to 60
time of 4.0 seconds and an ungoverned top
speed of 190 mph. The GT resembles the
original Cobra with a big grille opening, round
headlights and side air extractors. It has a
longer wheelbase than the Dodge Viper, but is
20 inches shorter. The GT is a concept, but
Ford strongly hints of production in about one
year, and insiders speculate the price will be
comparable to the Viper, or about $80.000 to
$90,0000. ▼
8 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 9
There are other automotive shows on radio,
but nothing quite like The Car Corner. On other
programs, you’ll hear people talking about their
vehicle’s problems, but on The Car Corner,
you’ll find out about what’s happening in the
industry that impacts you, the motoring public.
Some things you’ll hear about:
3. Which apparel company is Hummer
teaming with for the design of the new
H3T compact pickup concept?
a. Adidas
b. Nike
c. Patagonia
d. Timberland
7. In 2002, the Big 3 U.S. automakers
introduced 15 “new or significantly
refreshed” models and another 16 in
2003. How many are they expected to
introduce in 2004?
a 17
b 22
c. 29
d. 34
1. Answer: d. According to PPG Industries, a major supplier to
the auto industry, the top selling color for 2003 was silver at
24 percent. Following were white 16 percent, red 14 percent,
blue 11 percent. Natural colors (gold, copper, champagnes
and lighter shades of brown and yellow) combined made up
11 percent.
with Bill Zervakos
2. What accessory do owners of sport
utility vehicles most often install first on
their vehicles?
a. Nerf (step) bars b. Bug screens
c. Wheels & tires
d. Brush guards
2. Answer: c. According to the Specialty Equipment Market
Association (SEMA) 26.2 percent of SUV owners first add
wheels and tires to their vehicle. Bug shields - 18.0 percent.
Brush guards — 8.2 percent. Nerf (step) bars - 6.6 percent.
3. Answer: b. Hummer designers have teamed up with Nike on
many design cues for the Hummer H3T concept. One of the
most unique influences is the tire design that is based on
tread patterns on Nike shoes.
6. How much cleaner are the emissions
in new cars today than they were 30
years ago?
a. 49 percent
b. 65 percent
c. 80 percent
d. 99 percent
4. Answer: a. Nissan recently dropped the Pathfinder name
from the large Pathfinder Armada; so it’s now just called the
Armada. The mid-size SUV, the Pathfinder, is still called
1. What was the top selling color on 2003
a. White
b. Red
c. Blue
d. Silver
5. The use of electronic stability controls
in new vehicles has reduced the number
of single-vehicle crashes by what
a. 10 to 15 %
b. 20 to 25 %
c. 30 to 35 %
d. 40 to 45 %
5. Answer: c. According to Automotive News, studies
conducted in Europe and Japan have shown the number of
single-vehicle crashes have decreased by 30 to 35 percent
thanks to the use of Electronic Stability Controls.
4. Nissan recently changed the name of
which one of their vehicles?
a. Pathfinder Armada b. Maxima
c. 350Z
d. Titan
6. Answer: d. According to The Alliance of Automobile
Manufacturers, which is made up of nine of the worlds
leading automakers, the cars being built today emit 99
percent fewer emissions than cars did 30 years ago.
7. Answer: d. The Big 3 U.S. carmakers are planning to
introduce 34 “new or significantly refreshed” models in
2004, according to Automotive News.
erale’s Series 8000 Plate &
Fin Oil Coolers were
specifically designed for
the high heat
extraction requirements of
today’s electronic
overdrive transmissions.
Starting with the
existing stacked
plate configuration,
increased the
distance between
each plate to improve
airflow and filled that void
with cooling fins for optimal
heat transfer.
The result is the most efficient
air-to-oil cooler available today.
Features include embossed turbulator
plates that minimize pressure drops and pre-drilled steel mounting brackets for
secure vehicle attachment. An attractive black powder-coated finish prevents
corrosion. Series 8000 transmission oil cooler kits are available in 4 sizes to fit most
applications and include OEM-spec oil hose and all necessary mounting hardware.
Contact Derale at 800-421-6288 or visit for more information. ■
The Car Smarts quiz includes news and trivia from
industry sources, trade journals and consumer magazines compiled for Arizona Driver by BILL & BARBARA
SCHAFFER of Auto Digest.
Automotive Fine Art by Don Evenson
Private commissioned paintings in oil or acrylic
News from the Industry
Expert Tech Tips
Trivia with Prizes
New Car Evaluations
Guest Interviews
Contests and More
Private patrons nationwide; commercial clients include:
Bank of America, Boeing, Best Western Hotels, Clorox, Chrysler Corporation, Dole Foods,
Fulton Homes, GTE, Honeywell, Hunt-Wesson, Levi Strauss, Pizza Hut, Rockwell International,
Scottsdale Healthcare, Shaklee, Sierra Club, Standard Oil, Transamerica, Valvoline, Yamaha.
Saturdays 7-8am
Xtra Sports 910 AM
10 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
11259 E. Via Linda • Suite 100-185 • Scottsdale AZ 85259 • 480-661-8410 • cell 480-560-5598
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 11
The Volvo XC90 won “North
American Truck of the Year” at t
he North American International Auto
Show in Detroit, Motor Trend’s
“SUV of the Year”, best overall at
Northwest Automotive Press Association’s
Mud Fest and Texas Auto Writers’
Association “Truck of Texas”
at the Texas Truck Rodeo.
ARBARA– Every year or two I
By Barbara
and Bill Schaffer
12 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
recommend a sport utility
vehicle to my daughter. The first
year it was the Mercedes ML320, then the
Lexus RX300 and last year the Acura
MDX. This year I have recommended the
new and extremely safe mid-size Volvo
XC90. I want nothing less for my grandchildren than possibly the safest vehicle
on the road.
BILL– Each year we drive a handful of
vehicles so significant that they tend to
stand out from the other 150 vehicles we
drive annually. The Volvo XC90 is one of
those uniquely memorable vehicles.
For our personal use I’m not a big fan
of sport utilities in general, but I respect
that consumers love the big high trucks
and a lot of people need to pull trailers.
While the XC90 is billed as an SUV, it’s
part of a new style product that is
designed more for on-road than off-road
service. And as we all know, that’s where
they are mostly driven.
BARBARA– In addition to being safe, the
XC90 is great looking. Designers have
given it a muscular look with a unique
architecture that allows for seven seat
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 13
We take the Volvo XC90 on freeways, around town, and a little off-road
toward the Mexican border south of Tucson...
and it’s never found lacking
By Joe Sage
capabilities but without losing the easily
recognized Volvo appearance.
The interior has maximum versatility
with an optional front-facing third row seat
that folds flat below the cargo floor making
more cargo capacity. Another unique
seating feature is the 40/20/40 split (on
Versatility package) allowing individual
sections to be moved forward or backward
making more legroom for individual third
row seat passengers. The center section of
the second row holds a child booster seat
and when moved into the forward position
allows the front occupant to better interact
with or attend to the child.
BILL– The XC90 is built on the same
platform as the flagship S80 sedan with
other parts borrowed from Volvo’s Cross
Country XC70 and the S60 sedan.
Among the most innovative features
of the XC90 is the industry-first Roll
Stability Control. It uses a gyro-sensor to
register the vehicle’s potential to roll
over and alerts the Dynamic Stability
and Traction Control (DSTC) system. The
DSTC responds by reducing engine
power and braking one or more wheels
as necessary until the car understeers
and stability is regained.
BARBARA– The XC90 T6 AWD that we
tested comes with a large number of standard features including moonroof, leather
seating surfaces, keyless entry, driver and
14 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
front passenger eight-way power seats
with driver three-position memory, dualzone electronic climate control and power
windows with front windows auto down
and up. It also has speed control, alarm
system, heated outside mirrors with
remote memory, 16 beverage holders, indash six-CD changer with AM/FM stereo,
tilt and telescoping steering wheel,
simulated wood interior trim, roof rails,
stability and traction control and so much
more for a less than $40,000 price tag.
However, after adding the “must-have”
options the price of our test vehicle
climbed to $45,000 including the delivery,
but still a good value by today’s standards.
The entry model XC90 starts at $34,000.
BILL– The transversely mounted in-line
six-cylinder engine allowed engineers to
fit seven-passenger seating into a
relatively short vehicle. The 2.9-liter
engine boasts twin turbochargers and
produces 268 horsepower. Unfortunately
the Volvo 5-speed automatic transmission
wouldn’t fit so the only available transmission is a 4-speed. The electronic allwheel drive system, developed by Haldex
of Sweden, automatically distributes
power between the front and rear wheels
for the best grip on all types of roads.
BARBARA– Volvo always goes to the head
of the class when it comes to safety, and
the XC90 is no exception. The XC90 has
the world’s first inflatable curtain for all
three rows, the world’s first roll stability
control, unibody construction with integral
high strength steel passenger safety cage
and reinforced roof structure. Other safety
equipment includes driver and front
passenger side airbags, driver and front
passenger dual stage airbag, three-point
seat belts for all seven seating positions,
whiplash protection system in driver and
front passenger seats, seven padded head
restraints and the list goes on and on.
BILL– Performance levels are good but not
exceptional. I recorded 72 mph in our
mailbox acceleration test, which is run
from where I pull on the highway and
accelerate to the first mailbox, or about
one eighth mile. I was comfortable
driving around our 90-degree, 25-mph
test corner at 49 mph. Fuel economy
during our drive time averaged 17.7 mpg.
The EPA rates the XC90 T6 at 15 mpg for
city driving and 20 mpg on the highway.
BARBARA– I really like Volvo’s latest entry
into the auto market. It’s very handsome,
safe, comfortable, and versatile and has
an environmental consciousness.
BILL– The Volvo XC90 has great road
manners, but can still run off road with all
but the hard-core off-roaders. It’s
remarkably comfortable and fun to drive,
plus it looks good. It’s one of the best
we’ve driven. ■
here’s sometimes a fine line
between trying to be all things to
all people, and being none, missing the mark. The Volvo XC90 marks the
first real attempt at an SUV by Ford’s
Swedish unit, following the original XC70
Cross Country wagon, a car-based, station
wagon bodied highway all-wheeler along
the general lines of the Audi allroad.
We had a bit of an in-house discussion
prior to receiving this vehicle, as to
whether it was indeed an SUV, or whether
it was just a taller wagon, an XC70 with
some enhanced dimensions, among the
many crossovers entering the market. In
general style, it’s definitely evolved from
the XC70; however, its engineering and
stance turn out to be just as strong and
commanding as well-established segment
leaders such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee
or Ford Explorer, with either of which it
shares very similar dimensions. So, okay,
it’s an SUV, maybe even more sporty and
more utilitarian than a lot of other truckbased vehicles in the category.
And that’s where the Volvo XC90 really
shines. We gave it the usual around-town
and freeway sampling in the Valley, then
headed off to Tucson and south toward
Nogales, where we had the opportunity to
take it on some fairly tame unsurfaced
road, which involved crossing some rough
railroad tracks, doing some climbing and
descending, and traversing some moderate rocks and ruts.. Here’s what we found:
The XC90 is larger than quite a few
SUVs that are, frankly, just too small...
while it’s smaller than quite a few that are
embarrassingly excessive.
It’s classier than the market mainstays... but it’s more subdued in styling
and not as ostentatious as a few of the
No, it’s no Hummer... but, as Letterman might
say, some of these jokes just write themselves.
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 15
Not the Rubicon, but this stretch of gravel road
between Green Valley and Nogales reveals an
urban SUV with capable off-road behavior.
highest-end sport utilities that verge on
styling excess.
It’s utilitarian enough to take off road
comfortably and/or to haul an active load
of kids or a passive load of goods... while
stylish enough to cruise to the clubs.
It’s powerful enough to be safe, sure
and commanding on the highway... while
it’s not so overpowered as to ruin its fuel
mileage ratings.
It’s got a wider range of applications
than most coupes or sedans, and for most
people more useful than a pickup truck.
In short... it’s just right. The Goldilocks
SUV; perhaps the Goldilocks vehicle.
Does that mean it’s perfect? No car
quite is. But it does mean a comparison
shopper is going to be hard-pressed to
find a reason to move to something else,
once they’ve driven this. Unless they truly
want or need something a bit bigger... or
smaller... or plainer... or showier... or
faster... or cheaper. If performance handling is a major goal, you will still want to
compare the Porsche Cayenne or BMW
X5. As the Volvo XC90 is showing up on
Arizona roads in significant numbers,
though, it has clearly claimed strong turf
in the comfort zone.
One specific beef we had with the
vehicle was an exceedingly large B-pillar,
16 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
probably nice to have if you’re rolling
down a mountainside, but a disturbance
in the essentials of daily lane-changing.
And, speaking of rolling down a mountainside, this should be quite unlikely in
the XC90.We were told quite clearly that
we should take this vehicle and try to roll
it, or at least take it through some very
exaggerated lane changes and turns. (The
well-publicized “moose test” in Scandinavia is a benchmark for lean, balance
and road adhesion on all European SUVs,
and a few have lived, died or been
reengineered because they didn’t do well
enough in a series of tight maneuvers
intended to mimic an emergency swerve
typical of encountering a spindly-legged
but substantial moose on the highway at
speed.) We weren’t about to try to roll our
XC90, but the engineering is clear: at
dealing with this, the Volvo excels. In fact,
roll prevention is just one element of the
wide-ranging XC90 safety program.
Volvo’s Roll-over Protection System,
ROPS, tackles rolling, or any propensity
to roll, from two directions: a stabilityenhancing system, Roll Stability Control
(RSC), which minimizes the risk of rollover in the first place, and increased
protection for the occupants if the vehicle
were to roll over. Owing to a higher center
of gravity, any SUV may have a higher risk
of rolling over in certain critical situations,
compared with a conventional passenger
car. Therefore, the center of gravity in the
Volvo XC90 has been kept just 3.5” higher
than that of the XC70 awd wagon. However, recognizing that SUV buyers value a
commanding seating position, Volvo has
nonetheless managed to place the front
seats 6.5” higher than in the XC70.
To reduce the risk of roll-over, the Volvo
XC90 is equipped with an active stabilityenhancing system, RSC, which uses a
gyro-sensor to register the car’s roll speed
and roll angle. Using this information, the
terminal angle is instantly calculated and
thus also any roll-over risk. If the calculated
angle is so great that there is an obvious
risk of rolling over, the DSTC (Dynamic
Stability and Traction Control) anti-skid
system is activated. DSTC responds by
reducing the engine’s power and also by
braking one or more wheels as necessary
until the car understeers and stability is
regained. This helps reduce the risk of a
roll-over accident initiated by extreme
maneuvers. RSC, developed by Volvo and
Ford Motor Company, is the only active
stability-enhancement system on the
market to measure the car’s roll angle.
Those who encouraged us to push the
limits of course figured this preventive
technology would save the day. But Volvo
has also prepared for the worst: if the
Volvo XC90 does experience a rollover,
passive safety systems step in. Volvo has
reinforced parts of the roof structure with
extremely tough boron steel, four or five
times stronger than normal steel. All
seats are equipped with seat belt “pretensioners” to pull the seat belt firmly
across the occupant’s body in an
accident, to help maximize protection. To
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 17
help prevent the head from striking the
cars’ sides, the XC90 is equipped with
Volvo’s Inflatable Curtain (IC), which also
helps prevent the occupants from being
ejected in an accident.
The XC90 has also been engineered to
coexist safely with others. The typical SUV
has a high ground clearance high-positioned bumpers, creating a greater risk of
damage to an oncoming passenger car,
since the lower car’s protective beams
and crumple zones simply slip below the
front of the SUV without being activated.
To reduce this risk, the front suspension
sub-frame in the Volvo XC90 is supplemented with a lower cross-member,
positioned at the height of the beam in a
conventional car. This lower beam is
integrated into the XC90’s structure and is
neatly concealed behind the spoiler.
Attention was also paid to the safety of
pedestrians and cyclists, already an area
of increasing concern (and regulation) in
18 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
Europe: the entire front of the car
features clean, gentle and smooth lines,
with no protruding parts which may
cause enhanced injuries. And the engine
is installed low in the vehicle, with a full
3.1” of deformation space before there is
any contact with the engine below it, thus
serving as an impact-absorbing zone for a
pedestrian who may be thrown onto the
hood of the vehicle.
The Volvo XC90’s third row of seats has
generous space behind, so collision force
in a rear-end impact can be effectively
absorbed and dissipated. And the occupants of the rearmost seats sit just above
the rear axle, which is the optimum
position in terms of side-impact safety.
These seats also feature belt tensioners,
head restraints and the Inflatable Curtain.
The front airbags are of the dual-stage
type, with a sensor that monitors any
incoming collision force and adjusts the
airbag’s inflation accordingly.
Safety for the car’s youngest occupants
has always been a high priority at Volvo.
That is why the Volvo XC90 can be
specified with a standardized attachment
system for child seats, ISOFIX, in both the
first and second row of seats.
WHIPS, Volvo’s award-winning Whiplash Protection System, is fitted in the
two front seats of the Volvo XC90. WHIPS
is activated in a rear-end collision from
speeds as low as 8 mph, reducing trauma
on the spine and neck and thus reducing
the risk of injury.
The XC90 introduces no fewer than five
automotive world firsts: Roll Stability
Control (RSC), an inflatable side curtain
for all three rows of seats, an integrated
sliding center booster seat for children,
seatbelts with pretensioners in all seating
positions—and, just for fun, availability of
a Dolby 5.1 Pro Logic II surround sound
stereo system featuring a 305-watt Alpine
amplifier and 12 premium speakers.
Two versions of the Volvo XC90 are
available: the XC90 and the XC90 AWD
T6. The XC90 is powered by a 2.5-liter
inline five-cylinder turbocharged engine
producing 208 horsepower at 5,000 rpm
and 236 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 4,500 rpm. The XC90 AWD T6 gets its
power from a twin turbocharged 2.9-liter
inline six-cylinder engine making 268
horsepower at 5,200 rpm and a stout 280
lb.-ft. of torque from 1,800 - 5,000 rpm.
All-wheel drive is available optionally for
the base XC90. Both models will tow up
to 5,000 pounds. ■
Sport Activity
The suspension of the BMW X3 uses a
unique double-pivot strut-type layout that
also contributes to excellent ride and
handling of BMW 7, 5 and X5 Series
By Barbara
and Bill Schaffer
models. The suspension features
aluminum components at both ends to
help reduce unsprung weight and
contributes to a relatively supple ride
over rough surfaces.
ARBARA – If you have been
aspiring for a BMW sport activity
vehicle, but have been discouraged by the price, BMW brings you the
all-new BMW X3, priced about $10,000
under its big brother, the X5. It’s built for
people with an active lifestyle and people
who appreciate the ability and performance of a BMW.
During the press introduction of the X3
I went to Carefree, Arizona, where I was
able to drive it on great switchback roads
as well as some soft off-roading on the
graveled Apache Trail and found it most
impressive, thanks to BMW’s new
intelligent all-wheel drive system, xDrive.
BILL– It’s a long, complicated story about
my first drive in the new X3. To make a
long story short, here we were driving
20 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
home in the Pacific Northwest, with our
grandkids in the back seat and a raging
snowstorm outside.
Even though I love driving in the snow
and under adverse conditions, I was a bit
apprehensive about driving late at night
on really slippery roads with this precious
cargo of Barbara and the grandkids.
I was concerned that the standard issue
mud and snow tires might not have the
grip to handle these very icy conditions,
but was pleasantly surprised that the new
xDrive never let me spin a tire. Even
more impressive was the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). I seldom get to
experience this system in real-life
conditions, but did that night. I took one
corner a little too fast for the ice, and the
rear end started to break loose. I
instinctively steered into the slide and
suddenly the DSC took control and
magically straightened the X3 by braking
the appropriate wheels—and we
continued on our way. So what could
have ended up with us spinning off the
road ended with us moving straight
ahead. It was amazing!
I also appreciated the navigation
system. In the hard blowing snow, it
showed me the direction of each corner,
which made it easier to anticipate turns.
BARBARA– The smart looking X3 has
many characteristics that let you know
that it is all BMW. In fact it looks a lot like
a smaller X5. It combines athletic youthfulness, grace and agility with standard
roof rails and spoiler.
The interior is very tasteful and roomy,
with conveniently placed controls that
offer easy driver access. The X3 features
a one-piece rear liftgate, making easy
accessibility to cargo space.
BILL– A few days later, when the ice and
snow melted, I had a chance to drive the
X3 on dry, paved roads and I was even
more impressed. The smaller size was
perfect, and it was more like driving a
sports car than an SUV. The steering was
precise, the handling was flat and controlled, and the acceleration was far better
than I expected from a six-cylinder engine.
BARBARA– The X3 offers a long list of
convenience and luxury appointments,
with yet more luxurious stand-alone
options. There are also several available
packages including Premium, Sport and
Cold Weather, allowing the buyer to
customize the X3 to suit perfectly. The
2.5-liter version starts at $30,995 while
the 3.0-liter starts at $36,995. Both prices
include destination charges.
BILL– The X3 is no lightweight, topping
the scales at just over two tons. Our test
vehicle was powered by BMW’s famed
3.0-liter in-line 225-horsepower sixcylinder engine. The base model has a
2.5-liter version rated at 184-hp. A sixspeed manual transmission is standard
with both engines, but our test vehicle
had the fantastic five-speed automatic
and the full time xDrive all-wheel drive
system with traction control.
BARBARA– Like all BMWs, the X3 comes
standard with many safety and security
features and technology including the
xDrive all-wheel system, Dynamic StabiKEEP RIGHT >>
The X3 features fulltime all-wheel drive with the
new xDrive system, engineered with electronically
controlled multi-disc clutch for varying front/rear
torque split. Torque is split to optimize not only
traction, but also handling dynamics, for unprecedented agility in this type of vehicle.
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 21
2004 BMW X3 3.0i
XDrive all-wheel drive system; Dynamic
Stability Control; Rain sensing wipers;
Heated windshield washer jets and
exterior mirrors; Auto-tilt on right
exterior mirror; Roof spoiler; Vehicle
& key memory; Keyless entry; Cruise;
4-Function on-board computer; Auto
climate control; Toolkit; Side-impact
airbags; Flat tire warning system.
Base Price: ............................ $36,995
Options: Steptronic 5-Speed automatic
transmission $1,275; Servotronic
steering $250; Rear door mounted side
impact airbags $385; Sport package
(Sport suspension, Sport steering
wheel, 18-inch wheels and tires, Sport
seats, Shadowline trim) $1,500
Total Options ..............................$3,410
Freight ...........................................$695
By Joe Sage
Price as Tested .......................$41,100
EPA Size ..............................SUV 4WD
Weight .....................................4,023 lb.
Wheelbase ..............................110.1 in.
Length .................................... 179.7 in.
Width .........................................73.0 in.
Height .......................................66.0 in.
Fuel Capacity .........................17.7 gal.
Cargo Capacity ............max 71.1 cu. ft.
Engine .............3.0L DOHC Inline 6-cyl.
Horsepower [email protected]
Torque, [email protected]
lity Control, Hill Descent Control, frontimpact two-stage airbags, Head Protection System for front and rear occupants,
side-impact airbags, plus the Intelligent
Safety and Information System.
BILL– I recorded 72 mph in my mailbox
acceleration test, from where I pull onto
the main highway and accelerate full
speed to the first mailbox, or about oneeighth mile. BMW says the X3 will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds,
and it has a top speed of 137 mph.
Our fuel economy during a week of
driving averaged 18.9 mpg. The EPA rates
it at 16 mpg for highway driving and 23
mpg on the highway.
BARBARA– To go with the X3 multisport
gear and equipment, the manufacturer
22 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
has created a line of BMW logo outerwear
and accessories. Also, a company called
DesignWorksUSA has created a bike rack
that fits in the rear cargo compartment,
when the rear seats are folded down. It
carries two mountain bikes or racing
bicycles inside and retails for $275.
The X3 is an extraordinary vehicle, and
with the new equipment and accessories
that are now available it is even more
remarkable and versatile.
BILL– I’m not a big fan of SUVs, but for
some reason, the BMW X3 was just right
and it is one of the most fun-to-drive
SUVs I’ve been in. The combination of
BMW power, the smaller size, agile handling and BMW quality made it perfect for
me. It’s a keeper! ■
Transmission ........................5-spd auto
Brakes ....................................Disc ABS
0 to 60 mph ..............................7.9 sec.
Top speed ...............................137 mph
Cornering comfort .....................50 mph
EPA economy rating..............17/25mpg
Our actual fuel economy ........18.9 mpg
Acura MDX, Audi allroad,
Cadillac SRX, Infiniti FX 35,
Land Rover Discovery, Lexus X 330,
Mercedes-Benz M class,
Volkswagen Touareg, Volvo XC90
he BMW X5 has been one of the
best-received SUVs to hit the
market, especially if you reflect back
to its introduction, when the idea of a
performance automaker building a sport
utility was met with a fair degree of
skepticism. In fact, BMW hedged the whole
concept, by calling the X5 an SAV (for sport
activity vehicle), a moniker they officially
use for both the X5 and X3 still. Once the X5
hit the track, though, is was quickly
recognized as legitimate kin to the phenomenally popular 5 Series, in turn universally
recognized as a driver’s car. The X5 had
both luxury and speed, as well as startling
roadholding performance, for a vehicle with
a high center of gravity. In fact, many
drivers considered the COG factor not to
even be much of a factor at all.
Well, the sedans and coupes of the BMW
3 Series are equally sacred to their base of
enthusiast fans. So, has the X3 brought 3
Series performance to an all-activity platform as effectively as the X5 did with the 5
Series? It’s a study in relativity. Being a
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 23
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24 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
BMW, it’s inherently going to beat a lot of
small- and medium-SUV competitors. The
X3 is a fine smallish SUV (ahem, SAV),
with decent performance, style and finish,
but it doesn’t achieve the stratospheric
reputation of its big brother. Should it?
While Barbara got to drive the vehicle
off-road around Carefree, our test time
was on Valley streets and freeways. Here,
style and more mundane utility (groceries
and kids with gear) hold sway. And in both,
the X3 proved perfectly capable, but not
particularly noteworthy. There are a great
many competitors in this class now, so is
the BMW badge enough? Compared with
many of the more economical and more
spartan SUVs, it might be. And of course
there’s quite a bit more to the X3 than the
badge. Once you’re in the X3 price range,
though, it seems hard not to go for an X5.
For comparison, the X3 has a base price
of $30,995 with the 2.5-liter six and manual
transmission, while the X5 with its larger
available 4.4-liter V8 and automatic transmission has a base price of $52,195. That’s
certainly quite a range, more than 70%
higher. But in between are the two 3.0-liter
models, an X3 3.0i manual at $36,995
($38,270 with an automatic), and an X5 3.0i
manual at $40,995 ($42,270 auto). A $4k
difference (or currently about $80 a month,
financed) is probably too tempting for all
but the most fixed incomes to resist;
introducing a minor case of apples and
oranges, a difference of just $30 a month
between the top X3 auto and bottom X5
manual is harder still to ignore. For style
points alone, we’d go with the X5. But then
again, that just takes us up to the base X5,
so we’d get a few style points knocked
right back off for not having the larger
wheels of the higher-finish X5.
Of course, there are reasons to prefer
the X3. It’s far more manageable at two
tons than the X5 at three. Fuel economy
benefit a little from this, though, with 15/21
to 16/22 numbers for the X5 (depending on
engine and transmission) and 17/25 for the
X3. This for giving up no horsepower on
the 3.0i comparison, but 90 hp if you bring
the V8 into the X5 build. The X3 wheelbase
is only one inch shorter than the X5, but
the overall length is 4" shorter. This lends
not only maneuverability but also slightly
better entry/exit angles to the X3 off road.
It also brings a wheels-to-the-corners
stance that is showing up marketwide.
The X5 seems to fall together perfectly,
bringing great BMW styling to a largebodied vehicle. The X3, to us, is more
awkward, though in terms of BMW’s
styling evolution, which is still taking some
adjustment, it could be argued that the X3
is more evolved. For town, highway, offroad or general utility, either vehicle is a
great choice. For the performance driver,
it’s difficult not to go for the X5 with the V8.
For the country club SUV driver, the X3
might never hit the same level of elegance
as the X5, depending on the club.
Why do we find ourselves comparing
the X3 to the X5 so much? It’s just plain
hard not to. Ironically, perhaps this would
be different if they’d been introduced
simultaneously; certainly it would be a
different comparison if the X3 had come
out first. With the BMW sedans and
coupes, it seldom seems to be an issue of
how the 3 isn’t a 5, or how the 5 isn’t a 3. In
the SAV class, it seems unlikely an X5
owner will dwell on how their vehicle is
not an X3. But the X3 is like an awkward
kid with a superstar big brother, tending to
overshadow the freestanding attributes of
an otherwise perfectly fine BMW. ■
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 25
Dueler H/P™ P275/55R20
Potenza® S-03 Pole Position™
ridgestone tires
are being fitted on a specially outfitted
2004 Nissan Armada SUV for a national advertising campaign this spring, Bridgestone Dueler H/P tires in size P275/55R20,
paired with 20-inch Diablo Vienna rims.
The Armada OOH-Cube promotion, which targets young,
influential, hip, urban consumers, features a customized Nissan
Armada encased in glass, with the tagline “Break Glass in Case of
Adventure” painted on the outside. The display will visit nine
major markets across the United States through April, starting out
in New York, then continuing to Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas,
Atlanta, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Houston and
finishing up again in New York. It will spend two weeks in highvisibility areas of each city, ultimately landing at the New York Auto
Show in early April. “The Bridgestone Dueler H/P is the perfect
accompaniment to the theme of this campaign. It is designed to
stand up to the rigors of young adventurers while still delivering
performance,” said Phil Pacsi, executive director, North American
consumer tire brand marketing, BFNT.
“The 20-inch size is a new product for the Bridgestone brand
Dueler H/P, and will come to market this spring. A growing number
of new mid- and full-sized pickup trucks and SUVs are coming
26 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
factoryequipped with 20-inch tires, so
adding these sizes is a way for us to satisfy consumer
demand for these large diameter tires when customers visit our
dealers and stores for replacement tires,” Pacsi added.
Designed with Bridgestone’s flagship Potenza® S-03 Pole
Position™ ultrahigh performance tire in mind, the Dueler H/P
brings high performance looks and sporty handling to the pickup
and SUV markets. The Dueler H/P is H-speed rated and features
exclusive UNI-T AQII™ technology for excellent grip even as the
tire wears. Aimed at consumers seeking the most performance
from their truck or sport utility vehicle, the Bridgestone Dueler H/P
features an aggressive tread pattern and black sidewall lettering
with a wide profile for a sporty, yet refined, look.
The Bridgestone Dueler HP™ and Potenza® S-03 Pole Position™
are available in Arizona at:
Performance Tires and Wheels
15485 N. 84th Street - Scottsdale AZ 85260
1-800-766-2588 - 480-596-9655 ■
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 27
Element: one box
full of vehicles.
By Barbara and Bill Schaffer
There are no pillars between the side cargo doors on the Honda Element to facilitate easier loading of cargo and passengers into the rear.
ARBARA– When I first saw the
Honda Element I thought it looked
as though the Hummer had given
birth. It does resemble the Hummer or at
least the H2, but of course, much smaller.
It is full of personality and cargo space.
BILL– There’s nothing quite like the
Honda Element...yet. It may look like
some sort of customized box on wheels,
but it’s actually one of the most versatile
and practical vehicles to come along since
the first SUVs. It combines the qualities of
many other vehicle types, including a
truck, car and SUV. All that’s really
missing in the Element are the abilities of
a sports car or convertible. But it does
28 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
handle very well and it does have a large
removable skylight sunroof in the back.
With all these features you might say it’s
the Swiss Army Knife of transportation.
BARBARA– This square and extremely
rugged-looking sport utility vehicle is
available in two trim levels, the entry DX
and the fully loaded EX that we tested.
The interior features a waterproof
material on the front and rear bucket
seats (front seat only on the DX model).
The floors are urethane-coated to resist
water, dirt and scratches. Cleanup is easy,
by simply hosing it out at the car wash.
Center-opening side cargo doors with
no B-pillar allow for easy loading.
BILL– The four-passenger Element was
built from components of the Honda CR-V
small SUV, but with a body designed to
appeal to the extreme sport crowd.
Whether the cargo is surfboards, mountain bikes, snowboards or climbing gear,
the Element can haul nearly anything by
folding or removing the rear seats and
even dropping the front passenger seat
for extra long cargo. With all the seats
reclined, it’s even possible to sleep in the
Element, but the bed is lumpy.
BARBARA– The Element EX comes very
well equipped, with such conveniences as
air conditioning, power front windows,
cruise control, adjustable steering
column, dual power door mirrors, power
door and tailgate locks. It also has antilock brakes with electronic brake control,
removable flip-up rear seats, AM/FM/CD
audio system, removable large rear
skylight with tilt feature, driver’s seat
height adjustment, 12-volt accessory
sockets, cargo area tie-down anchors and
more—for a price of $20,850 equipped
with the four-wheel drive system.
The two-wheel drive DX with fivespeed manual transmission is priced at
$16,100. Add $460 delivery charge to
either model.
BILL– Honda’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder
engine with the i-VTEC variable valve
system powers the Element. The engine
is rated at 160 hp and when equipped
with an automatic transmission and fourwheel drive gets 21 mpg in city driving
and 24 mpg on the highway, according to
the EPA estimates. We averaged 22.8
mpg during our week in the Element.
The front-wheel-drive Element is available with either a five-speed manual or a
four-speed automatic transmission, with
the shift lever mounted in the center of the
instrument panel within easy reach of the
steering wheel. The optional Real Time
4WD™ system drives the front wheels until
slippage is detected and then transfers
power progressively to the rear wheels.
The Element has four-wheel independent suspension with four-wheel disc
brakes and 16-inch wheels and tires.
BARBARA– Safety features on the Element
EX include driver and front passenger
airbags, anti-lock braking system with elec-
tronic brake distribution, three-point front
seat belts with pre-tensioners, three-point
rear seat belts, lower anchors and tethers
for children (LATCH), side impact door
beams and immobilizer anti-theft system.
BILL– Performance levels are not bad for
this type of vehicle. I recorded 65 mph in
my acceleration test, which I run from
where I pull onto the main highway to the
first mailbox or about one-eighth mile.
Cornering was better than average due to
the lower center of gravity. I was
comfortable around our 90-degree, 25mph test corner at 49 mph. The Element
is considered an SUV, but its off-road
abilities will be limited by its low clearance. Nevertheless, it should go nearly
anywhere the typical driver wants to go.
BARBARA– The Element may seem a little
strange-looking, but it certainly is not runof-the-mill. It is multi-functional, innovative and in general remarkably practical.
BILL– The Honda Element was designed
to be a universal vehicle for on-the-go
young people, and I think it’s right on
target. Whether the targeted group will
buy the Element still remains to be seen.
It should appeal to a very broad range of
buyers from students to retired people
(who might buy the Element to pull
behind their big motor home). Initial
sales figures show the average Element
owner is 41 years old, just slightly
younger than the average Honda owner.
It might be weird looking, but I like it,
and the looks are growing on me. ■
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 29
If you’ve got a
niche, scratch it.
By Joe Sage
argeting a market by age, budget
or perceived lifestyle is not a new
idea. Whether by plan or happenstance, it’s been around for the past
several decades in everything from the
VW bug to the Mustang, from the pickup
craze when it was a fringe movement to
the Mercury Grand Marquis for the elder
set. In every case, the basic image
dominates, though quite a few others will
find their way to the vehicle for their own
reasons, or to emulate the core group.
With Gen X, Gen Y and the Millennials
all vying for marketers’ attention, an
effort to court the newest generation of
drivers has begun in earnest. Toyota has
launched an entire new division, Scion
(building out from their North American
Toyota and Lexus nameplates), featuring
small, affordable machines with good gas
mileage, a full complement of features
without a lot of option confusion, a style
all their own, and very reasonable
pricing. On about the same timeline,
Honda introduces the Element. And,
while the Toyota xB is an extremely small
and extremely boxy machine (for better
30 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
The interior is both spartan and stylish. There’s something quite odd about that shifter setup, though.
or worse, along the lines of several
popular Japanese-only urban machines),
the Element builds upon what is actually
a much more traditional chassis,
drivetrain and option kit, although it
innovates heavily from there, with access
and configuration options to delight
anyone who considers their vehicle first
and foremost a tool to use. And while its
style leads the bleeding edge just a bit, it’s
evolutionary enough to stop startling in
short order.
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 31
2004 Honda Element Pricing and EPA Data
Unlike the BMW X3 and X5 comparison (see pages 23-25), the target market for the
Element will likely be skimming this list to pick their exact best comfort spot.
2004 Honda Element EX
Model............................................Transmission .....................MSRP.......EPA City/Hwy.
Element 2WD DX.........................5-Speed
Element 2WD LX .........................5-Speed
Element 2WD EX .........................5-Speed
Element 2WD EX with S-SRS.....5-Speed
Element 4WD DX.........................5-Speed
Element 4WD LX .........................5-Speed
Element 4WD EX .........................5-Speed
Element 4WD EX with S-SRS.....5-Speed
Manual .............$16,100 ...........21/26
Automatic........ $16,900 ...........22/26
Manual .............$17,100 ...........21/26
Automatic.........$17,900 ...........22/26
Manual .............$18,900 ...........21/26
Automatic.........$19,700 ...........22/26
Manual .............$19,150 ...........21/26
Automatic.........$19,950 ...........22/26
Manual .............$17,500 ...........21/24
Automatic.........$18,300 ...........21/24
Manual .............$18,500 ...........21/24
Automatic.........$19,300 ...........21/24
Manual .............$20,300 ...........21/24
Automatic.........$21,100 ...........21/24
Manual .............$20,550 ...........21/24
Automatic.........$21,350 ...........21/24
Destination and Handling Charge is $490 additional per vehicle.
Standard Equipment:
Power front windows; Tilt wheel;
Power locks; 16-Inch alloy wheels;
Air conditioning; Anti-lock brakes
with electronic brake control; 270watt AM/FM/CD stereo with 6
speakers and a subwoofer;
Removable rear skylight;
Base Price:............................. $20,550
Options: none
Price as Tested .......................$21,010
EPA Size ...........................Spec. Purp
Weight ...................................3,577 lb.
Wheelbase ...........................101.4 in.
The utility knife effect is evident.
Honda calls the Element “a dorm room
on wheels,” breaking with traditional
automotive styling and packaging norms
to combine the best features of a pickup
truck, minivan and an SUV wrapped in an
innovative and versatile package. The
Element is intended to deliver fun driving
while meeting stringent LEV-2 emissions
requirements. Its 2.4-liter, i-VTEC, 4cylinder engine with 160 horsepower is
coupled with either a 4-speed automatic
or 5-speed manual transmission that
delivers exceptional efficiency.
So, does this package actually appeal to
the niche it’s intended for? With the
average buyer at age 41, lower than
Honda’s previous corporate average, we’d
have to say they’re reeling ’em in a little
older than planned. But in America’s
youth-centric culture, imitation is a form
of endorsement for the original idea.
Proof of concept seems certified by a
comment received in a parking lot, out of
the blue, from a gentleman a couple of
decades older than this older-thantargeted driver, who got one look and
hollered out, “ So what’d ya lose a bet?!?”
We’re likely to think he’s either heard
the demographic message or received it
intuitively, either of which is valid to
Honda’s mission: this is a car for a certain
age group. Mission accomplished. ■
Length .................................. 169.3 in.
Width .......................................71.5 in.
Height .....................................74.0 in.
Fuel Capacity .......................15.9 gal.
Cargo Capacity .....25.9 to 77.1 cu. ft.
Engine2.4-litre DOHC I-VTEC Inline-4
Horsepower [email protected]
Torque [email protected]
Transmission...................4-Spd. Auto
Drive .................................Four wheel
Brakes ..................................Disc ABS
Tires ....................................215/70R16
0 to 60 mph ..........................10.8 sec.
Speed to mailbox ..................65 mph
Top speed ..............(limited) 109 mph
Cornering comfort .................49 mph
EPA economy rating .........21/24 mpg
Our actual fuel econ ...........22.8 mpg
Chevrolet Tracker, Chrysler PT
Cruiser, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V,
Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Liberty,
Kia Sorento, Mitsubishi Outlander,
Pontiac Aztek, Pontiac Vibe,
Saturn Vue, Scion xB,
Subaru Impreza, Suzuki Aerio,
Toyota Corolla Matrix.
Honda Element EX. Maybe it’s all the plastic body cladding, but the Element seems to look pretty much the same even in different colors.
32 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
The Element DX is instantly recognizable by its wheels and lack of front diving lights.
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 33
“Put your brain
in gear before you
put your car in gear.”
–Richard Petty
Georgia-Pacific Brings NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and Safe Teen Driving Program to Two Scottsdale High Schools
eorgia-Pacific Corp. has brought
its Teen Safety 500 program to
Chaparral High School and Desert
Mountain High School, both in
Scottsdale. This innovative program
extends Georgia-Pacific’s involvement
with NASCAR to spread the message of
safe driving among teenagers.
The assembly included NASCAR driver
Kyle Petty, local dignitaries, and Dan Silk,
VP of marketing for Georgia-Pacific,
speaking about safety behind the wheel.
After the assembly, students had the opportunity to view the No. 45 GeorgiaPacific/Brawny Dodge outside the schools
and to receive autographs from Petty.
An addition to this year’s program was
a hands-on, defensive driving course
taught by professional instructors from
the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Thirty students from each school were
chosen to participate in a half-day driving
course at Phoenix International Raceway,
where the students went through a
variety of exercises including emergency
stopping, oversteering/understeering and
emergency lane changing, all designed to
prepare them for real-life situations they
face on the road.
According to the National Highway
Transportation Safety Administration, the
risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher
among 16- to 19-year-olds than any other
age group; these drivers are four times
more likely than older drivers to crash.
“Teens account for about 16 percent of
traffic fatalities in Arizona,” said GeorgiaPacific’s Silk. “We’re proud to bring the
Teen Safety 500 program to the Phoenix
area to help raise awareness of the
importance of safe driving to teenagers.”
To date, students have logged more
than 1 million safe miles through the
Teen Safety 500 program. Phoenix was
the fourth of five stops the Teen Safety
500 made during the NASCAR season.
Students at the two schools signed a
safe-driving pledge to remain violation-
free with no crashes during a three-week
period, and registered online to win
prizes for themselves and their school.
Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises
and winner of eight NASCAR Winston
Cup races, is a champion of safe driving.
“Georgia-Pacific and I want everyone to
think safety first when they get behind
the wheel,” said Petty. “As my father
Richard Petty says, ‘Put your brain in gear
before you put your car in gear.’ We’ve
lost more than 68,000 teens nationally to
traffic crashes in the last decade. The
Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 reminds
students about the habits that can save
lives—buckle up, slow down and pay
attention to the road.”
Petty and Silk were joined by Detective
Department; Shannon Field, student,
Chaparral High School; Mary Lou
Muccino, principal, Chaparral High
School; and Brian Corte, principal, Desert
Mountain High School. ■
the driver’s edge
to teen drivers.
Traditional driver’s education has focused on the skills needed to pass a driving test, with
classroom lectures and some behind-the-wheel “on-the-job training.” The DrivingMBA™
program goes beyond this, bringing high-tech simulators to everyday drivers.
The DrivingMBA Comprehensive
Driving Tutoring Program
These components are available as a
discounted package or individually:
• Rules of the Road® DVD : Award-winning interactive DVD tutorial for home use.
• Pre-Permit Driving Simulation Course : 5 hours total computer simulated driving experience gives
teens a solid foundation in fundamentals before they get behind the wheel.
• Safe Young Drivers : A book to supplement your own in-vehicle training.
• Advanced Decision Skill Building : The same high-end simulator used by police and other
professionals to improve behind-the-wheel decision-making skills.
• Profiler™ : Assesses your skills against a pro database (included with Advanced Decision Skill Building).
• DUI : Students in both simulator courses experience the negative impact upon vehicle control of driving
while impaired.
9181 E. BELL ROAD, SUITE 103 • SCOTTSDALE AZ 85260 • 480-948-1648
34 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
Chiricahua State Park
HCR 2, Box 6500 • Willcox AZ 85643
Grand Canyon National Park
PO Box 129 • Grand Canyon AZ 86023
923-638-7888 Visitor Info Recorded Message
Lake Havasu State Park
699 London Bridge Dr. • Lake Havasu AZ 86403
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
10 Organ Pipe Drive • Ajo AZ 85321-9626
520-387-6849 Visitor Information
Petrified Forest National Park
PO Box 2217
Petrified Forest National Park AZ 86028
928-524-66228 Visitor Information
Saguaro National Park
3693 South Old Spanish Trail
520-733-5153 Visitor Info Rincon Mtn District
Wupatki National Monument
Flagstaff Area National Monuments
6400 N. Hwy 89 • Flagstaff AZ 86004
928-679-2365 Visitor Information
928-526-1157 Visitor Information, HQ
Las Vegas Tourism Bureau
6120 W. Tropicana Ave. • Las Vegas NV
Imperial Palace Auto Collections
Fifth floor parking facility of Imperial Palace.
National Automobile Museum
The Harrah Collection
10 Lake Street South • Reno NV 89501
775-333-9300 •
Colorado Activity Centers, Inc.
737 N. Tenmile Drive - Suite 35
PO Box 129 • Frisco CO 80443
800-777-8642 • 970-668-5259
Shelby American Collection
5020 Chaparral Court
PO Box 19228 • Boulder CO 80308-2228
New Mexico
New Mexico Department of Tourism
800-733-6396 x 0643 •
Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 1928 • Santa Fe NM 87504
8380 Cerrillos Rd. Suite 302 • Santa Fe NM
505-983-7317 •
San Juan County Tourism
117 S. Main Street • Monticello UT 84535
800-574-4386 •
Desert Rose Inn & Cabins
701 W. Highway 191 • Bluff UT 84512
888-475-7673 •
Puerto Peñasco Mexico Online
Beachfront home rentals in Rocky Point.
623-935-0507 •
Brochures / Catalogs / Magazines
Concept / Design / Production / Print Publishing
Palm Desert Visitor Information Center
72-990 Highway 111 • Palm Desert CA 92260
800-873-2428 •
Media Planning & Placement
Call to discuss individual projects or strategic needs.
Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd. (at Fairfax) • LA CA 90036
323-930-CARS •
Baja California State Tourism Office
Blvd. Diaz Ordaz s/n
Edificio Plaza Patria Nivel 3
CP 22400 Tijuana BC
(66) 81-9492
Sonora State Tourism Office
Centro de Gobierno
Edificio Estatal Norte 3er Nivel
Comonfort y Paseo Río
CP 83280 Hermosillo, Sonora
(62) 17-0076
Performance Tires & Wheels
Auto Dealers
Automotive Fine Art
Tirexchange, Inc.
Tires • Wheels • Chrome Plating
15485 N. 84th Street • Scottsdale
1-800-766-2588 • 480-596-9655
Aston Martin North Scottsdale
18088 N. Scottsdale Road • 480-538-4200
Automotive Fine Art by Don Evenson
Private commissioned paintings in oil or acrylic
11259 E. Via Linda • Suite 100-185
Scottsdale AZ 85259 • 480-661-8410
Driver Tutoring
BMW North Scottsdale
18018 N. Scottsdale Road • 480-538-3900
Auto Spa / Convenience / Gas
Comprehensive simulator tutoring for teens
A program of Accelerated Skill Builders
480-948-1648 •
Lou Grubb Ford
8555 E. Frank Lloyd Wright • 480-991-3333
Custom Garage Interiors
Porsche North Scottsdale
18000 N. Scottsdale Road • 480-538-3850
Call to visit our completely furnished garages
623-580-0900 •
Scottsdale Lamborghini
Raintree & Hayden Road • 480-483-9300
Cobblestone Auto Spa & Market
• Frank Lloyd Wright & Hayden • 480-596-1200
• 15111 N. Hayden Road • 480-561-2622
• Bell Road & Piestewa Parkway • 602-787-0035
CHANDLER - Opening in September:
• Alma School & Germann • 480-814-9274
SURPRISE - Coming soon!:
• Bell Road & Grand Avenue
Audi North Scottsdale
18088 N. Scottsdale Road • 480-538-4000
MINI North Scottsdale
18018 N. Scottsdale Road • 480-538-6464
Van Chevrolet
8585 E. Frank Lloyd Wright • 480-991-8300
Mobile Communications
NEXT Technologies, LLC
Integrated Mobile Media Environment (IMME)
602-370-0098 •
Auto Dealers - Specialty
Mobile Broadband Internet
Gorilla Motorsports
Select line of vehicles restyled for performance
1425 S. Clark Drive • Tempe AZ 85281
408-507-0999 •
Sunangel Communications, Inc.
2-Way Mobile Broadband Internet
480-905-1663 •
Mobile Detailing Service
Waxwerks Detailing
Detailing - Valley Wide Mobile Service
Classic, Muscle & Luxury Autos
Ken Dickson • 602-788-9680
Aftermarket Enhancements
Gorilla Motorsports
Performance packages - superchargers - A/V
Custom interiors - wheels/tires - suspension
1425 S. Clark Drive • Tempe AZ 85281
408-507-0999 •
Vehicle Diagnostics
EZ-Scan 6000 Automotive Scanner
Dream Machines
14825 N. 82nd St. Suite C • 480-951-9524
Motorsports of Scottsdale
The Finest Collection of Pre-Owned Luxury Autos
Raintree & Hayden Road • 480-483-9300
Scottsdale Lotus
8355 E. Raintree Suite 170 • 480-922-6242
Online Classic Car Classifieds
Put your classifieds online at
480-460-8800 •
Racing Events
SCO Nights
Sport Compact Drag Racing
Every Thursday at Firebird Raceway
Service & Repair
Airpark Auto Service
8115 E. Raintree • 480-998-1605
Greulich’s Auto Repair
8180 E. Raintree • 480-483-8186
Motorcycle Dealers
Aprilia - Ducati - Motoguzzi - Triumph
330 E. Southern Ave # 37 • Mesa AZ 85210
480-898-0559 •
Motorcycle Manufacturers
Aprilia Motorcycles - Scooters
Dan Gurney Alligator Motorcycles, Inc.
Dan Gurney’s All American Racers, Inc.
2334 S. Broadway • Santa Ana CA 92707
714-540-1771 •
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.
9950 Jeronimo Road • irvine CA 92618
949-770-0400 •
385 Walt Sanders Memorial Drive
Newna GA 30265
678-854-2010 •
Phoenix International Raceway
602-252-2227 •
Information is derived from a variety of sources
High Performance Schools
Bob Bondurant School
of High Performance Driving
Mention Code AZ803 for discounted multi-day
1-800-842-RACE •
and may not be final or accurate; check all info.
Listings do not necessarily represent any
specific affiliation with nor endorsement by
Arizona Driver magazine.
Information is derived from a variety of sources and may not be final or accurate; check all info. Listings do not necessarily represent
any specific affiliation with nor endorsement by Arizona Driver magazine.
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 37
Honda raises the bar
Simple, straightforward and very complete,
the Civic’s dashboard controls are as intuitive
and to the point as the vehicle itself.
By Joe Sage
he Honda Civic, one of America’s
best selling cars for the past decade,
received significant exterior and
interior enhancements for the 2004
model year for both the 2-door coupe and
4-door sedan body styles. Both the Civic
Coupe and Civic Sedan have freshened
exterior styling—including redesigned
front and rear bumpers, hood, headlights
and front grille—imbuing the Civic with a
stronger stance and a bolder, more
aggressive, personality. We spent a week
with the coupe and found a solid
mainstay has become even moreso.
The Coupe EX receives a new alloy
wheel design for ’04, and the LX model
wheel size increases to 15” from 14”.
Both the coupe and sedan lineup feature
a new Magnesium Metallic exterior color
with gray interior (shown above). Coupe
models add a vibrant Fiji Blue Pearl
exterior color, as on our test car. A Value
Package, based on the DX trim level, adds
air conditioning, CD player and center
console with armrest and storage, for a
savings of approximately $500.
For the interior enhancements, keyless
entry is added on the LX trim level, and
38 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
floormats are standard on both EX and
LX trim levels. The stereo system receives
an upgrade, with improved speakers.
Additionally, the interior has added
enhanced sound dampening materials to
the doors to reduce road noise.
The 2004 Honda Civic is offered with
an automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. The sporty and economical Civic
HX Coupe leads the lineup in fuel economy and is available with either a 5-speed
manual transmission or an automatic
CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). On the sedan side, the Civic family
is rounded out by the environmentally
conscious, gasoline-electric powered Civic
Hybrid and sporty, performance-oriented
Civic Si. And the natural gas powered
Civic GX, dubbed the “cleanest internal
combustion engine in the world” by the
EPA, returns for 2004 with the same
freshened updated styling. Additionally, a
new console with armrest and storage bin
have been added to the interior, and
floormats are standard for 2004. The GX’s
stereo receives improved front speakers
and adds keyless entry as standard
equipment. Shoreline Mist Metallic and
Eternal Blue Pearl have been added to the
external color palette.
The 2004 Honda Civic retains its
position as an environmental leader in
the small car category. All Civic models
are rated as Ultra Low Emission Vehicle
(ULEV) in all 50 states, while the natural
gas-powered Civic GX and the gas-electric
Civic Hybrid are the first vehicles to meet
California’s stringent “Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” or
AT-PZEV requirements.
All Civic models come equipped with a
full host of advanced safety attributes,
including Honda’s available advanced
side airbag system on the Coupe with
available side air bags. The Civic Coupe
earned a five-star rating for all passengers
in the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration’s (NHTSA) frontal and side
impact crash tests.
The Civic Coupe is powered by a
1668cc aluminum alloy in-line 4-cylinder
engine, generation 115-117 hp on the VP,
HX and LX models, and 127 on the EX.
Torque ranges from 110 to 114 lb.ft. Rack
and pinion steering turns in 34.1 feet
curb-to-curb, and stopping power comes
from 10.3" discs in front and 7.8" drums
in rear, with ABS on the EX.
We get to drive quite a variety of cars,
some in far higher price ranges, but this
reliable performer becomes a comfortable partner quickly... a keeper. ■
2004 Honda Civic Prices and EPA Data
Model .................................Transmission..................................MSRP .............EPA City/Hwy.
Civic VP Coupe ..................5-Speed Manual ............................$13,410...........32/38
............................................4-Speed Automatic........................$14,210...........29/38
Civic VP Coupe w/SRS......5-Speed Manual ............................$13,660...........32/38
............................................4-Speed Automatic........................$14,460...........29/38
Civic HX Coupe .................5-Speed Manual ............................$13,710...........36/44
............................................Continuously Variable (CVT) ........$14,710...........35/40
Civic HX Coupe w/SRS .....5-Speed Manual ............................$13,960...........36/44
............................................Continuously Variable (CVT) ........$14,960...........35/40
Civic LX Coupe ..................5-Speed Manual ............................$15,160...........32/38
............................................4-Speed Automatic........................$15,960...........29/38
Civic LX Coupe w/SRS......5-Speed Manual ............................$15,410...........32/38
............................................4-Speed Automatic........................$16,210...........29/38
Civic EX Coupe..................5-Speed Manual ............................$16,860...........32/37
............................................4-Speed Automatic........................$17,660...........31/38
Civic EX Coupe w/SRS......5-Speed Manual ............................$17,110...........32/37
............................................4-Speed Automatic........................$17,910...........31/38
Destination and Handling Charge is $490 per vehicle.
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 39
on a new
with the
Acura’s latest offering, the TSX sedan, falls between the mid-size TL 3.2 sport sedan and the new sporty RSX coupe. It’s designed to compete with
the big boys: BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Infiniti G35 and a handful of other great cars. The TSX is a contender.
By Barbara
and Bill Schaffer
ARBARA– I have always
been an Acura fan
because the company
doesn’t play games. They don’t tell you
that you can buy a particular vehicle for
“as low as” and then start adding on the
amenities until the price skyrockets.
Instead, Acura sells a vehicle with everything included. It’s like buying a dinner
that includes appetizers, wine and dessert. The only decision you make, with a
couple of exceptions, is the model and
color. In the case of the new TSX, the only
option is a $2,000 voice activated navigation system.
BILL– Acura has a habit of continually
impressing me with the quality, value and
innovation of their vehicles. My initial impressions of the Acura TSX were that it
looks nice, has a good fit and finish and
has a typical Acura understated design.
Then it’s time to go out on a deserted
road, throw the car around a few corners,
running the engine up toward redline,
and suddenly the car is a giant with
fabulous handing and exciting performance dynamics.
BARBARA– The Acura TSX sports sedan
40 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
has crisp lines with a signature five-sided
Acura grille flanked by high intensity discharge (HID) headlights. The rear features
a short, high trunk lid with a clean bank
of horizontal backlights. The TSX is
available in seven beautiful colors giving
you the opportunity to make a decision.
The five-passenger interior has a sporty
yet very luxurious feel, and it has a long
list of convenience features. Controls are
well placed and have a solid tactile feel.
The seats are extremely comfortable with
plush perforated leather upholstery.
BILL– The TSX has a host of important
technical and mechanical features like
four-wheel independent double-wishbone
suspension, disc brakes with anti-lock
and17-inch alloy wheels with Michelin
tires. Vehicle stability assist, traction
control and variable assist steering are
also standard equipment.
BARBARA– With an incredible amount of
safety, convenience and comfort features,
the Acura TSX is a bargain at under
$29,000 including shipping. The TSX
comes with a navigation system with voice
recognition that has a larger vocabulary
than some of my friends, power
moonroof, Xenon headlights, sports seats
with leather trim, driver’s eight-way power
seat, heated front seats and premium
sound system with AM/FM/CD player with
in-dash six-disc changer. The list goes on,
with dual zone climate control, steering
wheel with cruise and audio controls,
remote keyless entry with locking system,
power windows with auto down/up
driver’s window, HomeLink® system,
power outside mirrors and door locks,
anti-theft system plus floor mats.
The TSX is also available without the
Navigation system and with a five-speed
automatic transmission with the sportshift feature for manual shifting.
BILL– The TSX is one of the most
balanced cars I’ve driven, so good that it’s
hard to believe it’s front-wheel drive. The
handling is precise, the ride is crisp to a
fault and the engine is a dream.
The power comes from a 2.4-liter
DOHC, i-VTEC engine rated at 200 hp.
Like other Acura and Honda engines, this
is a high revving four-cylinder that redlines at 7100. It’s stronger at lower engine
speeds than some Acura engines I’ve
driven and gets even better as engine
speed increases. The engine requires no
scheduled tune-ups for 110,000 miles
under normal conditions.
The new six-speed manual transmission is smooth shifting with short throws
between the gears and a more precise
feel than many other six-speed manuals
we’ve driven.
BARBARA– The TSX is equipped with front
dual-stage/dual-threshold airbags, front
seat side airbags with passenger height
and position sensors, side curtain airbags,
front and rear crumple zones, LATCH
system for child seats in rear outboard
positions plus ABS brakes, stability assist
system with traction control and more, all
for the safety of driver and passengers.
BILL– Acceleration levels are not as good
as the six-cylinder competitors, but for a
naturally aspired four-cylinder, the TSX is
fast. I recorded 72 mph in my acceleration test from where I pull onto the
highway full-throttle to the first mailbox,
or about one-eight mile.
BARBARA– This is a vehicle I would buy, if
I had time to drive a vehicle of my own. It
certainly fits into my price range and it
definitely fits into my luxury demands.
BILL– I agree
agree,, the
t TSX is a keeper, but
I’m more enthralled by the performance
and handling. The TSX is a great competitor for the big-name sport sedans and it’s
an excellent value. ■
Classic Hemi and
hot rods rock the house
as Classic Car Auction
sales soar to $38.5 million
arrett-Jackson Auction Company
announces their most successful
car auction to date, with recordbreaking sales in world-class street rods,
muscle, sports and classic cars during the
four-day 33rd annual Barrett-Jackson
Classic Car Auction, presented by DodgeChrysler-Jeep. Barrett-Jackson reaffirmed
the viability of investing in classic cars,
with an estimated $38.5 million in sales,
eclipsing the $28.5 million record set at
the 2003 auction. Of the 762 cars that
crossed the auction block during the four
days, 744 cars were purchased, a world
record 98% sales percentage.
Despite inclement weather, attendance
at the 2004 event was equally recordsetting with an estimated 185,000 people
attending over the four-day event, up over
the 2003 attendance of approximately
175,000. In addition, SPEED Channel
broadcast an extended 15 hours of live
auction coverage.
Headlining the top auction sales was a
42 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
world-class, award-winning 1938 Lincoln
Zephyr V-12 Coupe Street Rod, which
sold for $432,000 dollars. In addition, an
unrivaled selection of Hemi-powered
automobiles, street rods, muscle cars,
classic and pedigree European sports cars
were sold on the auction block at the 33rd
annual edition of what is internationally
established as the ‘The World’s Greatest
Classic Car Auction.’
Barrett-Jackson President Craig Jackson
explained that from an investor standpoint, the quality and desirability of the
cars is definitive. He stated that the
success of the Barrett-Jackson Auction is a
direct result of a well-thought-out strategy
beginning with the ability to consign the
most desirable and sought-after cars.
The auction is a lifestyle event,
featuring a fashion show, opening night
charity Gala and an exhibit pavilion with
classic automobilia, jewelry, celebrity
collectables and a myriad other vendors.
Among the celebrity attendees who
were either bidding or selling cars at this
year’s auction were Jeff Probst, host of
the hit TV series “Survivor”, Jason Lewis
from HBO’s “Sex in the City,” actor Tim
Allen (who purchased an award wining
custom 1956 F100 Ford pick-up with a
blown 426 Hemi), 1998 Playboy
Playmate Of The Year Karen McDougal
(selling her 1966 Ford GT40 coupe recreation), Denver Bronco quarterback
Jake Plummer, NHL Phoenix Coyote
captain Shane Doan, Baseball Hall of
Famer Reggie Jackson, and music artists
Bob Seger and George Benson. A variety
of American automotive design icons
such as Carroll Shelby with his wife Cleo,
Reeves Callaway and former General
Motor’s design chief Wayne Cherry also
attended the auction. Although not
auctioned at this year’s event and
following a great deal of fanfare, Michael
Jackson’s 2001 Bentley was displayed
throughout the weekend and will be sold
at a future Barrett-Jackson event. ■
Scottsdale Air Center: a full service ground support general aviation facility.
FBO amenities include:
8 25,000 sq.ft. terminal comfort
8 ExxonMobil premier care Avitat flight line service
8 Top shelf concierge services at a moment’s notice
8 Aircraft maintenance
8 72,000 sq.ft. hangar accommodations
8 300,000 sq.ft. flight line concrete
8 State-of-the-art weather & pilot services
8 Professional management services
8 New & used aircraft sales & marketing services 8 Charter accommodations
8 Avionics installation & repair
One block west of Hayden between Raintree and Costco • Scottsdale Air Center • 15290 N. 78th Way • Scottsdale AZ 85260 • 480-951-2525
■ The supercharged SVT F-150 Lightning was introduced in 1999 with 360 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque.
Since then, engine modifications have improved performance, bringing output up to 380 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque.
The concept vehicle for the new 2004 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning (above) is sure to follow in—and exceed—the record-breaker’s footsteps.
stock 2003 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning (left)
customer can find at the local dealer. Ford SVT used a stock
reached over 147 mph and was certified as
2003 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning. Exterior modifications were
the “World’s Fastest Production Pickup Truck” by
limited to folding in the side mirrors, and removing the radio
The Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) was established in 1991 to create
Guinness World Records, Ltd. Since its introduc-
antenna. To meet timing requirements, Ford SVT conducted
low-volume, factory-produced vehicles designed for those whose idea
tion in 1999, the supercharged SVT Lightning has
the test on Ford’s Michigan Proving Ground five-mile-long
of driving is a high-powered, passionate experience, not just getting
been unofficially called the world’s fastest pickup
high-speed oval. Timing lights were set up seven-tenths of a
from point A to point B. To support this, Ford integrated a wide array
by many; now it’s a matter of official record.
mile intervals (as certified by an independent surveyor). A Hot
of talent into a small, cross-functional group of engineers, product
“This may seem like fun and games, but high-
Lap In-Car Timer, from Longacre Racing Products, was used to
planners and marketing people, together under one roof with a
speed stability is critical for a performance vehicle,
measure elapsed time through the measured 0.7 mile. Elapsed
common mission: to create vehicles specifically designed to meet the
even a pickup truck,” says Tom Chapman, Ford
time was then converted to miles per hour.
unique needs and desires of the knowledgeable driving enthusiast.
SVT chassis systems supervisor and driver for the
record-setting run.
For the record, Guinness requires the truck to be
production level, meaning it is identical to what a
44 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
Clockwise, the fastest elapsed time was 17.03 seconds, or
Each SVT vehicle has been developed with four SVT hallmarks in
147.974 mph. Counter-clockwise, the fastest elapsed time was
mind: Performance, Substance, Exclusivity and Value. These goals
17.09 seconds, or 147.454 mph. The average of those two runs
have driven the success of the SVT Mustang Cobra and Cobra R, the
is 147.714 mph. ■
SVT F-150 Lightning, the SVT Contour and the SVT Focus. ■
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 45
■ The next generation Mercedes-Benz
SLK, which is due as a 2005 model, will
get the new 3.5-liter V-6. The double
Mercedes-Benz SLK
overhead cam engine produces 268
horsepower. The SLK will also get the new
Mercedes six-speed manual transmission
with an optional six-speed automatic. An
AMG version is expected to have a 375-hp
supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine.
■ Like most manufacturers, Porsche
officials refuse to talk about future
products, but they are still hinting the
company has plans for a fourth model.
Recent rumors have favored a four-door
sports car based on the Cayenne
platform, but some reports say that
rumor may not be correct and that the
new car will be far different from any of
the company’s sports cars or the SUV.
■ Panoz Auto Development of Georgia
added a new GT version of its Esperante
coupe and roadster. Unlike previous
models the GT will be less race car and
more comfortable with sport-tuned susPanoz Esperante GTS
pension, unique bodywork and special
wheels and tires. The engine is a 4.6-liter
Ford V-8 rated at 320-hp. The company
claims 0 to 62 mph times of 4.9 seconds.
About 240 Esperantes are sold
annually at a base price of
■ Mitsubishi has trimmed 146
pounds of fat from the already
impressive Lancer Evolution to
create a new higher performance
RS version. The engineers then
added a helical limited-slip
differential, a crossbar over the
spare tire hole in the trunk and a
front strut tower brace. With a
base price under $27,000, the RS
is about $2,500 less than the normally
equipped Evolution.
■ Robert Lutz, vice chairman for GM
product development, and Cadillac officials have confirmed that Cadillac will
build an ultraluxury sedan by late in this
decade. No plans or vehicle architectures have been announced, but officials indicated that the pricing would
start at about $80,000 and could go as
high as $300,000. Cadillac started much
speculation about the move a year ago
when it showed the Sixteen concept car
at auto shows.
■ Mitsubishi Motors of North America
has added a standard 10-year, 100thousand-mile
warranty for all Mitsubishi
Cadillac STS
products sold in the US. The
new warranty takes effect on all
2004 model vehicles including
the new high performance
Lancer Evolution.
■ General Motors is taking steps to
combine field operations into its sales
and marketing organization. GM is
moving slowly with the change because
Saab and Saturn use different business
and computer systems than the rest of
GM. Is it possible that we might also end
up seeing Saab/Saturn joint dealerships in
the future?
■ Starting with the new 2004.5 model,
the Jeep Wrangler is available in two
distinct configurations, the regular
wheelbase and a new Unlimited model
built on a 15-inch longer wheelbase. The
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
cargo area in the Unlimited is expanded
by 13 inches, doubling the capacity, and
rear seat legroom is increased by two
inches. Chrysler said customers have
asked for more space, so they responded.
It’s been more than two decades since a
stretched version has been offered.
■ The first DaimlerChrysler
Smart brand vehicle to
reach the US will be a small
SUV called the ForMore. As
the fourth model of the
Smart to be produced in
Europe, the ForMore will
have all-wheel drive and is
expected to be roomier and
larger overall than the other
front-wheel drive Smart
vehicles. Daimler plans to
build about 60,000 ForMores in Brazil
with about half that number coming to
the US. The US introduction will be early
in 2006, and it will hit Europe
later the same year.
■ Dodge is making the new
Dakota even larger, to combat
the new bigger mid-size
models being introduced by
GM, Toyota and Nissan. It will
also be the only mid-size
pickup to offer an optional V-8
engine. The two-door model
has been dropped in favor of
two four-door models: a Quad Cab and
Club Cab. The new Dakota styling strongly
resembles the bigger Ram and the
Durango SUV with its large chrome grille.
Dodge officials say the all-new 2005
Dakota pricing will not increase much.
Jeep Compass concept
■ The next generation full-size
Buick Park Avenue may be a
rear-wheel drive. According to
sources, Buick is looking at the
Sigma rear-drive platform currently used by the Cadillac CTS
as a basis for the new Buick
flagship. If that’s true, then its
sister, the full-size LeSabre, might get the
same rear-drive configuration when it’s
redesigned at about
the same time.
■ Isuzu has developed a medium-duty
hybrid diesel/electric
truck, but won’t build
it until a market develops. The company
says the truck has a
capacity of two to
three tons and gets
46 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
about 23 to 25 miles per gallon (that’s
about 20 to 30 percent better than
similar size diesel-powered trucks). The
problem is the hybrid trucks would have
to be priced about $9,000 more than the
current $27,000 to $36,00 diesel trucks.
Isuzu doesn’t believe the trucks will sell
for this premium price currently, but is
prepared for when the market is ready
for such a truck.
Smart ForMore
■ When Cadillac’s new flagship, the
STS, officially debuts at the New York
Auto show in April, showgoers will see a
car that resembles the CTS, but with
softer and more curved lines. The interior
will be moved uplevel from previous
models. Engine choices will include a 3.6liter V-6 and the famous 4.6-liter
Northstar V-8. A high-performance “V”
Series engine will be added 12 to 18
months after the original arrives at
dealerships this fall. For the first time the
STS will be a rear-wheel drive, plus there
will also be an all-wheel drive option.
■ Jeep plans to call their new urban
off-road vehicle the Scout now that
International Harvester no longer
uses the name. The Scout, which is
due in 2006, uses the same
platform as the Mitsubishi Lancer,
which coincidentally will be the
same platform used on the next
generation Chrysler PT Cruiser. The
popular prototype for the Scout was
called the Compass when it debuted
at the Detroit auto show in 2002
(see Jan-Feb 2004 Arizona Driver).
■ The next generation Mercedes-Benz
S-Class, which is scheduled to debut in
the summer of 2005, will be significantly
longer than the present model and will
have an optional 4Matic all-wheel drive
system. The top of the line AMG
performance edition will have a 6.3-liter
V-8 with more than 600 horsepower.
■ Look for some major changes at
Mitsubishi from products to advertising.
New CEO Finbarr O’Neil said one of the
first changes would be the addition of a
new pickup truck based on Dodge’s nextgeneration mid-size Dakota. Mitsubishi
hasn’t had a truck in the US market since
the Mighty Max was dropped in 1996.
■ The Nissan Altima has been
extensively revised for the 2005 model
year. It has a new instrument panel, center
console, trim finishes, seat and headliner
materials plus an available DVD-based
navigation system. Other refinements
include five more horsepower (up to 250
hp), new raised hood, smoked headlights
and taillights, and new grille. The 2005
Altima went on sale in February.
■ Cadillac plans to add a “V” highperformance version of the Escalade
luxury SUV powered by either a V-10 or V12 engine. According to Tom Stephens,
GM vice president in charge of global
powertrains, the most likely engine is a
Northstar based V-12 engine that will fit
into the same space as the current 6.0liter V-8. The “V” series Escalade is
expected to dÈbut for the 2006
model year and that should help
maintain interest in the Escalade
until it’s redesigned in 2007 or
■ Toyota’s new larger Tacoma
pickup will feature a high
performance model called the XRunner Access Cab. It has suspension enhancements, a reinforced
frame, six-speed manual transmission, antilock brakes and a
240-hp 4.0-liter V-6 engine.
Toyota says the X-Runner accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 7
seconds. A supercharger will also be
offered to boost horsepower to 300.
Other options include stability control
and side curtain airbags. ■
Briefs & Rumors is a summary of auto news from
industry sources, trade journals and consumer
magazines compiled for Arizona Driver Magazine
by BILL & BARBARA SCHAFFER of Auto Digest.
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 47
Bill Schaffer
y dream car is a comfortable, conservative-looking sedan that
just happens to be unbelievably fast. I theorize, incorrectly of
course, that such a car is somewhat stealth when it comes to
speed limits. The Audi RS6 is a dream come true.
MECHANICAL - It starts life as a classically good-looking Audi A6.
Then Audi’s high performance arm, quattro GmbH, does a bit of a
makeover, starting with the addition of a 4.2-liter V-8 engine with twin
turbochargers. At 450 hp, the engine is the most powerful wedged into
a production Audi to date.
To handle the extra power, engineers specifically tuned a five-speed
Tiptronic® automatic transmission that can be manually shifted from
the gear selector or with wheel-mounted paddles. To maximize
traction, the RS6 utilizes Audi’s outstanding quattro all-wheel drive
system, which transfers power front to back and side to side, to the
tires with the best grip.
The brakes are Brembos using massive racing style composite discs
that are ventilated and cross-drilled. All this is attached to the ground
with 255/40ZR18 tires.
The suspension is Audi’s new Dynamic Ride Control active system
that continually adjusts the hydraulic pressure of each shock during
active driving to limit body roll and front and rear pitch.
It also has electronic enhancements like the anti-skid Electronic Stabilization Program with BrakeAssist, which works in conjunction with
Electronic Differential Locks and Anti-Slip Regulation (traction control).
PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING - The RS6 accelerates from 0
to 60 mph in a mere 4.6 seconds and to 100 mph in only 11.3 seconds.
Top speed is limited to 155 mph. Cornering is about as good as any
larger sedan I’ve ever driven.
DESIGN - The sleek classic design
sports aluminum fenders and hood,
along with extra air intakes hidden
behind diamond-patterned grilles and
two more flanking the fog lights to
provide extra air for cooling two
intercoolers. The RS6 also has
some subtle ground effects and a lip
spoiler on the rear deck, along with
some other subtle cosmetic enhancements and badging.
COMFORT - Yes, the RS6 is not as
plush riding as the A6, but it’s very
comfortable and refined. Until you
step down on the accelerator, it’s
not much different than a stock A6,
unless you hear the beautiful rumbling
exhaust note.
PRICE RANGE - Here’s the bad part.
The RS6 is not for everyone. First, it’s a
limited edition, so there aren’t many
available. And it’s rather expensive:
$85,660 including the $1,000 Warm
Weather Package, $1,300 Gas Guzzler
Tax and $660 destination charge. I don’t
think Barbara’s going to be getting me
one for my birthday, this year. ■
0 to 60
at the
of a
Call for information
on our anchor
sponsor program.
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PO Box 13387
Scottsdale AZ 85267
BILL SCHAFFER is co-editor of Auto Digest reviews, rumors and other features.
48 • March-April 2004 • ARIZONADRIVER
ARIZONADRIVER • March-April 2004 • 49
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